1.5 out of 5 stars
Cut to the Chase:
This is an earlier Kleypas work and though it is still fairly well written, it ultimately feels like an earlier work of a talented, but still developing, writer. The plot centers around an acclaimed author who saves the life of a notorious gambling club owner… and it meanders quite a bit, the dialog lacks the sparkle of her later works, and the characters are more one-dimensional than usual (she’s naive and innocent, he’s hardened and weary). Also, there are some real moral gray areas that you don’t often encounter in a regency romance (spoilers below), which, though different and arguably intriguing, also make the novel considerably less escapist than I like. I don’t regret reading it, but there were parts that were… surprisingly difficult to get through, and the most noticeable feeling I felt upon completion was relief. It’s not something I’d recommend, even to a Kleypas fan.